August 28th, 2006

The Palestinians: loving death, loving life

It’s been said before in parts of the Arab world, by Hezbollah leader Nasrallah and others: “We are going to win because [the Israelis] love life and we love death.”

Loving death: what an amazing thing to brag about. It’s a boast that’s meant to make the listener cower in awe of the bravery of the speaker, and to feel as though opposing such a person would be futile.

How can one deter or fight an enemy with such determination, one who’s not even wary of death? And this love of death is not just a macho pose or hyperbolic rhetoric (although it’s at least partly that); suicide bombers have definitely put their money where their mouths are in that respect. The Palestinian indoctrination of children has been an education in the veneration of death, and has borne fruit in this desire for martyrdom.

It goes without saying that such an attitude isn’t healthy for a society. In a less looking-glass world, it would in fact be a sign that such a culture was about to get its wish–that it was on the brink of extinction. Why? In the past, self-preservation and the desire to live, both as individuals and as a group, was one of the basics for societal survival.

It’s true that all societies require a certain amount of sacrifice, as well. For example, in order to keep both internal law and order, as well to defend the group against attacks by outsiders, there always needs to be a certain number of people who are willing to give their lives in order to protect the others (these people can be conceptualized as sheepdogs, in a metaphor that was discussed previously, here).

But in most societies, these protectors are far from eager to give up their lives. As General Patton famously said, “The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.”

Exactly and precisely. Patton was one of the least PC military men who ever lived. He was controversial even back in WWII, when political correctness was hardly a gleam in the Left’s eye. But now even the military is far more PC than it ever was; in recent decades, the military has become more reluctant to make “the other bastard” die for his. Like it or not (and Jacksonians don’t like it), the gloves are on when we’ve fought the wars of this century, at least so far.

One can only conclude that if the Palestinians, Hezbollah, and Iran had the weaponry the US has, they would not hesitate to obliterate anyone they perceive as having wronged them, shamed them, or gotten in their way. Their love of death is not limited to seeking their own deaths; they definitely embrace the deaths of their enemies.

And in a more Darwinian and less PC world, the Palestinians’ love of death, their lack of advanced weaponry, and their aggressiveness towards an enemy who does possess that weaponry would long ago have resulted in their getting their wish: death. Their own deaths, and the death of their society.

But in a strange ironic twist, such a culture can continue to exist if it faces an enemy that has such a love for life that it refuses to unleash its own arsenal on those who would seek to destroy it. So Palestinian society is protected by the reticence of its enemy, even as it declares that enemy to be ruthless and evil. It counts on that reluctance, that “love of life”–even the life of the Palestinians–to allow Palestinian society to live to fight another day.

The picture is a dismal one, to be sure. So I’m going to clutch at a tiny ray of light; I’ll take it wherever I can find it. This time it’s from Hamas spokesman Ghazi Hamad, of all people (hat tip: Captain Ed.)

An article in the Jerusalem Post quotes Hamad as complaining that Gaza is “caught in anarchy and thuggery.” What’s new about that? Simply this: Hamad isn’t blaming the Israelis, he’s blaming the Palestinians themselves.

This is different, especially for a Hamas spokesman. Those in Israel who advocated the withdrawal from Gaza hoped this would be one of the benefits: Palestinians taking responsibility for their own failures. Without the convenience of being able to blame the occupation, the Palestinians would have to face their own flaws (I wrote about this previously, here)

Here’s a quote from Hamad:

“We’re always afraid to talk about our mistakes,” he added. “We’re used to blaming our mistakes on others. What is the relationship between the chaos, anarchy, lawlessness, indiscriminate murders, theft of land, family rivalries, transgression on public lands and unorganized traffic and the occupation? We are still trapped by the mentality of conspiracy theories – one that has limited our capability to think.”

It’s not that Hamad has suddenly become an Israelophile (if he had, it might be his own ticket to death). Perhaps he just wants Palestinian society to reform, the better to attack its old enemy.

But perhaps not; I like to think not. And this final quote from Hamad lends credence to that possibility. It sounds to me as though it might even be a crie de cour, his reassertion of the energy of life rather than death:

Addressing the various armed groups in the Gaza Strip, Hamad concluded: “Please have mercy on Gaza. Have mercy on us from your demagogy, chaos, guns, thugs, infighting. Let Gaza breathe a bit. Let it live.”

26 Responses to “The Palestinians: loving death, loving life”

  1. goesh Says:

    – maybe they will heed hamad and at least quit the public mutilation of bodies of those killed over suspicion of collaberating with the Israelis – hope floats even in sewers, eh?

  2. snowonpine Says:

    As can be seen from my previous posts here, I am from what I believe to be the realistic camp and very often, given our current and probable future situations, the pessimistic camp as well.

    In the wake of the Steve Centanni kidnapping and his return effusively spouting praise for the “friendly” Palestinians and the deep truths of Islam, I have been thinking of what, exactly it is, that the Palestinians create as a people. From what I have seen, their GDP seems to consist of suicide belts, street demonstrations–of which the dancing in the streets, shooting in the air and general merriment on 9/11 has a special place in my heart–and death cult recruiting films for children dressed up as Sesame Street.

    Pardon me if I am extremely skeptical about this gang reforming in any meaningful way any time soon. As I understand it, the whole refugee camp thing is a mechanism whereby the Muslim world keeps the outrage over the Midddle East issue continually boiling, with the added advantages that refugee camps are ideal recruiting grounds for future terrorists and that the U.S., through its UN contributions, gets to pay the majority of the costs for the camps. From our Muslim enemy’s point of view, what could be better?

    I think that if Muslim attacks against the West and the U.S. continue to spread and escalate, our solution will, unfortunately, be to take the gloves off and give them what they so fervently appear to want, death.

  3. Senescent Wasp Says:

    Am I just terminally cynical when i think that somwhere, someone is setting up a Hamad Dead Pool?

  4. Sergey Says:

    This favorable for Gaza community disposition of Israel society can soon come to end. The most important result of Lebanon war is landslide shift in Israeli public opinion. I have first-hand experience of this shift from my Israely friend who visited Moscow just in the heat of hostilities. It became obvious, he told me, that the cost of occupation of enemy territory and of prolonged war of low intensity in terms of Israeli lives is less then the cost of so-called “peace”. This paradoxial realization is now almost totally prevail, except for government circles. Olmert will soon loose control, and next elections will bring to power the most hawkish politicians.

  5. mizpants Says:

    I’m one of those pessimistic realists too, but what Hamad says really is something new from a Palestinian, especially from a member of Hamas. When I saw it this morning my jaw dropped, and I felt a tiny but authentic flicker of hope. Perhaps he will end up dead at the hand of Gaza thugs, but when one person pipes up with this kind of honesty, others feel a little safer to do the same.
    It was both exhilarating and disconcerting to recognize the humanity of a member of Hamas — to actually ADMIRE what he said — and to let go for a moment of my reflexive and justifiable anger and hatred.

  6. snowonpine Says:

    While I am in the wondering mood, I wonder how it can be that Suha, the widow of the sainted Yassir Arafat–a man who from appearances couldn’t even afford a shave or a decent suit–just moved into a very expensive villa on the Rue Fauborg St. Honore in Paris after moving out of her 19 room suite at the five-star Bristol Hotel in Paris, a suite that reportedly cost her many thousands per night for the year she stayed there. I guess that’s why she needed the $100,000 a month stipend she has been getting from the supposedly broke Palestinian Authority (PA). Other news accounts mention her other $1.8 million monthly PA payment plus her $20 million bonus from the PA for her help in tracking down all the money, estimated at close to a billion dollars, that Arafat diverted from aid money and stashed in various bank accounts to which only Suha reportedly holds the locations and pass words. Other news articles report that French banking authorities have also been curious about the many millions of dollars being transferred into her bank accounts every month. Could it have something to do with all of that western money that was supposed to improve the living conditions in the refugee camps but never seemed to result in any improvement in Palestinian living conditions?

  7. Daniel in Brookline Says:

    Re “realism”:

    “If you describe things as better than they are, you will be called an optimist.
    If you describe things as worse than they are, you will be called a realist.
    And if you describe things exactly as they are, you will thought of as a satirist.”
    — Quentin Crisp

    I’d suggest being careful, in re declaring oneself to be a “realist”. Remember who the self-styled “reality-based community” are these days.

    I too am rather skeptical of seeing any Palestinian societal reform from within, any time soon. Let me hasten to add that I’d be overjoyed to see it — as an expatriate Israeli, it makes me sick to think of the society the Palestinians are building for themselves. (I hear the speeches glorifying death — for people other than the speaker, of course — and I wonder what sort of independent Palestine they hope to have. What kind of society encourages mothers to raise suicidal children? And do they really think that, if they were to achieve all they hope for, that they could simply turn off the terror and the society-wide death-wish with the flick of a switch?)

    Perhaps this tiny spark, and others like it, will cause enough introspection to move things in a positive direction. I hope so. But I’m not optimistic about it. Denouncing Hamad as a “collaborator”, and reverting back to the standard story-line in which the Palestinians are not responsible for anything, is just too damn easy.


  8. Anonymous Says:

    i think it is worth differentiating “willing to die for a cause” and “willing to risk one’s life for a cause.” such a difference lies between a soldier and a suicide bomber.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    It’s obvious that all Hamad is saying is that he wants Hamas to be the undisputed sole master of the fate of Gaza and all of Palestine. In other words, “we’re here to help you, so give us total power.” Always look at political statements in a tribal society as being ploys to gain power. You won’t go wrong.

  10. Senescent Wasp Says:

    Yasser Arafat stole so much money that the government has to make nice with his widow in hopes of getting at least some of the billion or so back so they can re-steal it. She reportedly will have an income of about a million a month in return for access to the accounts Arafat stashed it in.

    Jordan’s Prince Hassan just blasted Arabs for stealing billions from their people

    Of course, there is a groundswell of popular opinion on the “Arab street” to get the money back to raise them from their squalor. Oh, sorry they’re marching in support of more homicide bombers with those natty little belts filled with explosives and nails. Makes one wish that regular aerial applications of Prozac could take place. At least the occasional suicide attributed to it wouldn’t take a bunch of folks with them.

  11. John D. Infidel Says:

    Islam is submission to death and the Palestinians living in Gaza revel in this death cult. I would not be suprised if Hamad is found dead by the end of the week.

    As for Arafat’s widow, well all that money she is receiving is nothing but hush money. According the a Romanian intelligence officer and the rumor mill Arafat was a flaming homosexual who had wild sex with his bodyguards! I am trying to close my mind’s eye to such a disgusting mental image! Anyhow, his mysterious death has been attributed to AIDS. See:

  12. Ymarsakar Says:

    Once wars begin, a significant element of American public opinion supports waging them at the highest possible level of intensity. The devastating tactics of the wars against the Indians, General Sherman’s campaign of 1864-65, and the unprecedented aerial bombardments of World War II were all broadly popular in the United States.

    I’ve been saying this for awhile, but of course Bush is unpopular at the moment precisely because Jacksonians don’t like Bush. Bush doesn’t kill enough people and terroists, to satisfy the Jacksonians in America, which causes the war effort to stagger and topple into quagmire.

    Progress in Iraq? People don’t want to see progress in Iraq, people want to see the enemies of the United States with their heads cut off, dangling on bridges and street lights. Bush by resisting this popular tide, is fighting both the Democrats and the popular sentiment of America as well as the terroists and the international community. Bush has to decide whose side he is on these last two years he will be in power.

    It’s not that Hamad has suddenly become an Israelophile (if he had, it might be his own ticket to death). Perhaps he just wants Palestinian society to reform, the better to attack its old enemy.

    If people end up reforming to beat a free society, they will eventually become a free society.

    While we are susceptible to becoming the enemy by learning from the enemy in order to beat him. So is the enemy susceptible to becoming like us, if they seek to learn from us to beat us. The danger of conversion goes both ways.

    Remember who the self-styled “reality-based community” are these days.

    Who dat Daniel?

    If the Israelis were real Zionists, they would have put a hit contract out on Arafat’s wife in France and taken her out. Too bad in reality Israelis are freedom and life loving pacifists. Even pacifists have limits, it seems.

  13. Yelena Says:

    nothing can cure “life-long Democrat”.
    To become more realistic you should watch “Suicide Killers” in NUC now, then you will not cling to some off-hand words of terrorist with such hope.
    Sharon ethnically cleanse Gaza from Jews, not because he thought that “Palestinians” will take any responsibilites (even his dementia was not that bad), but he thought that anything was OK to save his sons and himself from jail.

  14. Tom Grey - Liberty Dad Says:

    The hope that the Palestinians start being more responsible for themselves is the right hope; withdrawal was the right policy.
    Continued Palestinian attacks is part of the price — but at least some of the Hamas folk understand it’s a Pali problem, not an Israeli caused problem.

    I suspect Hamad will be murdered soon — one of the failures of Israel has been to avoid noting the individual names and histories of the many Palestinians murdered by other Palestinians.

    Western aid which goes to “gov’t” always goes to increase the violence in the society — gov’t is force. The aid should go directly to business organizations to create wealth, thru peaceful agreement and toleration of disagreement. Companies are how humans organize to peacefully create wealth — and that’s what the Palestinians need more of.

    Pete, in the last 100 weeks there have probably been some 200 000 killed in Darfur — that’s about 2 000 a week.
    Each week.
    For two years.
    Almost nothing from Kofi, the UN, or the MSM about the Arab Muslims murdering black Muslims.

  15. Shamash Says:

    No, in Darfur it’s Arabs murdering Black Christians. Africa’s Bosnia… but the world doesn’t seem to care. Maybe it’s because Sudan has oil, and China has extensive shares in its supply; in fact Sudan is China’s 4th largest supply of oil.

  16. Charlemagne Says:

    Neo-neocon’s spell checker obviously doesn’t handle french words. At least two words are mis-spelled in the way she has written “crie de cour”.

  17. goesh Says:

    Where ya’ been, Pete? Shias ground up some Sunni kids for their school lunch last week – you missed that one – you’re slipping, Pete. Is your rectal cancer flaring up again old chap??

  18. neo-neocon Says:

    Charlemagne: I neither speak nor write French, so I spelled the French phrase into Google the way I remembered it. Google responded “did you mean crie de cour?” and redirected me here, which seemed official enough. Has Google done me wrong?

  19. Zeno Says:

    I never understood this worldwide – and particularly European – fascination with the palestinians, as opposed to other much more suffering groups of people. It has got something to do with terrorism I suppose. Violence works. As for me, they and their “cause” bore me to death.

  20. Stephen Britton Says:

    The Gaza strip is the most densely populated piece of land on the planet – and one of the poorest.

    It is the largest prison on earth.

    And of course they are imprisoned in their own land by a colonial power.

    Withdrawal was a desirable option because the cost of protecting the illegal settlements in Gaza was far to costly to Israel and it was noted that the prison could be controled by air power and simply putting a large fence around the whole area and controling all ways in and out.

    The Israelis aren’t stupid. They watched how the Nazi’s did it in the Warsaw ghetto and used that as Jewish policy against the Palestinians.

    And it falls perfectly into the line of thought that “we shall make life so unbearable for the Palestinians that they will eventually leave”.

    Or blow themselves up.

    Why don’t they just leave?

  21. Tatterdemalian Says:

    See, that’s the thing. If there are Jewish settlements outside Israel, then Stephen Britton claims the Zionists are oppressing the Palestinians militarily. If there are no Jewish settlements outside Israel, then Stephen Britton claims the Zionists are oppressing the Palestinians economically.

    Stephen Britton is clearly quite proud, indeed, of his ability to always put the hated Zionists on the spot, no matter what they do. The only way the Zionists could make Stephen Britton happy is to politely get back on the trains to Auschwitz.

    Pity Stephen Britton hasn’t realized that the Zionists have a second option… to ignore Stephen Britton, or if Stephen Britton ever poses an actual threat to them, to crush Stephen Britton like the bug he is.

  22. mike Says:

    Sorry Tatterdemalian,

    I would assume Stephen Britton has no understanding or desire to actually listen to what is being conveyed based on his comments. His life is a megaphone, not a cell phone. His conversations can only go one way. His mind is as flawed and closed as his reasoning. You would be better off talking to a brick wall.

  23. goesh Says:

    “It is the largest prison on earth” so says Britton, to which I say, the Edyptians certainly have wanted to keep them there too,haven’t they? I’m always amazed too how folks like Britton always accuse Israel of genocide and refuse to even acknowledge what happened to the palis when Jordan drove them/PLO out after killing many thousands of them. Man! the palis were dropping like flies at the hands of Jordanian ummah, weren’t they Britton? It must be a zionist consipiracy of sorts – the Jordanians slaughter them by the thousands and drive them into their Israeli prison and the Egyptians pretty much keep them there. Ummah 2, palis 0 – ain’t much of a game, is it?

  24. Zeno Says:

    Sorry Mr Britton,

    I live in Brazil.
    According to the Index of Human Development of your beloved UN, Brazil is in the 72nd position.
    The Palestinian territories are in 71st.
    So much for “one of the poorest regions on Earth”.

    Personally, I care more for poor Brazilians than for a people who (60% in recent polls) are favorable to suicide bombings and kindappings.

    But if you like to romantize islamic terrorists, hey, it’s your problem.

  25. Ymarsakar Says:

    It’s going to be everyone’s problem, soon.

  26. Bonnie Says:

    The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church—-

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